For Cure Leukaemia, the funds raised will help finance a pioneering Therapy Acceleration Laboratory at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford (MRC WIMM). The laboratory will focus on developing new approaches to treat human disease, including blood cancers
This new facility, led by Professor Paresh Vyas at the MRC WIMM, will apply the very latest scientific and computational analysis to blood cancer samples collected from patients treated through the national clinical trials network led by the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Characterisation of the genetic characteristics of large cohorts of blood cancer patients treated with new drug and transplant therapies will make it possible to identify blood cancer patients who will respond to a specific therapy. Integration of scientific and clinical data at such an unprecedented and globally significant scale will deconvolute the complexity of cancer therapy response permitting the delivery of truly personalised medicine to patients.
Speaking about the aims of the project Professor Vyas, Director of the Oxford Centre for Haematology, said: “If we think of blood cancer like a car crash we currently treat patients after the crash has occurred. Road and car safety focusses on the prevention of these accidents and that is what we now need to do with blood cancer, prevent the crash from happening.”
“Using detailed genetic analysis, we are now in a position to understand what causes blood cancer in patients. This Therapy Acceleration Laboratory will analyse samples from a large population of patients to identify those who will benefit from specific therapies. Importantly, this will also ensure those who will not benefit are directed to treatments that will work for them, effectively personalising treatment for the disease. In ten years, the treatment of blood cancer could be unrecognisable to today.”